Letter from Exmoor: Blown away on a Coastal Safari

Originally posted by Experience Exmoor on 15/07/2014 and by Ester Spears on 12/07/2014

We love the summer months as we get so many daylight hours to go out and explore Exmoor.

One of the safaris we go on in the evenings when the weather allows it, is the Coastal Safari Special. Visitors who book this experience are usually blown away by it. Metaphorically, just to reassure you ;-).

Of course a Coastal Safari along the National Trust track we can access, is spectacular at any time of the year and day, but when the light changes and the sun is setting on these summer evenings, the experience is particularly magical.

Last week we were joined by local photographer Ester Spears on one of our Coastal Safari Specials. He posted these pictures and comments in his blog:

Where Exmoor meets the sea

The piece of coast from Combe Martin to Lynmouth is surely one of the most dramatic and magical places in North Devon. There’s so much stuff crammed into this little area that no wonder the rich, the famous and the romantics have made this coast where Exmoor meets the sea, their home now, in recent centuries and in not so recent centuries: (With evidence of bronze age through to Roman settlements certainly and possibly earlier). Despite the obvious human attempt to graffiti the landscape with tracks and parish, the influence of the indomitable moor is always present as a bleak and harsh backdrop. There’s cliffs, coves, woodlands, hidden valleys, moorland, waterfalls and ancient woodlands, abundant wildlife and beautiful flora and it is all on display in wonderful awe-inspiring ‘technicolor’ at this time of year when the sun sneaks around the north side of Morte Point to highlight the Exmoor Coast.

Please click on the pic to make it big, coz as you know bigger is better.


The starting point for most, Valley of the Rocks (above) and below (normal view).


Here’s the whole coast, looking across Woody Bay, Crock Point, Duty Point, Valley of the Rocks and Foreland Point in the distance with it’s lighthouse.

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No photo trip to the moor would be be complete without a deer sighting, these two hinds obliged, chewing on some wild flower meadow in the late evening sun.

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Woods, ponies and sunset.


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Many thanks to my mate, Neil Osmond of Exmoor Experience, what a great safari. Please check out the website and enjoy the experience of someone who born on the moor (well in a village on the moor); http://www.experienceexmoor.co.uk/

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Canon 5D mk 3 with some L glass: 600mm IS f4, 24-70mm f2.8 ll, 70-300mm IS f4-f5.


Letters from Exmoor: On Safari

Barbara Kidder, a visitor from the States, has recently been visiting Exmoor.  She has a set up a blog about her trip to the UK, and here is what she posted about Exmoor:

We went on “safari” in Exmoor today with Neil Osmond, who runs a company called Experience Exmoor. It was absolutely amazing. He went down roads we would never travel and we got to see things we never would have seen on our own. I used the video camera mostly, but did get a few still shots when we stopped and walked a bit. We were out for 6 hours, and could have been out for days and days….it is so beautiful, exciting, pastoral, grand…..so many adjectives apply.

Landscapes change so quickly here….one moment you are on the high moors with broad vistas, and the next you are plunging down a narrow lane into a wooded valley. The weather seems to change just as quickly. Today there was the most 3D sky I have ever seen and one of the most varied. There was deep blue sky with puffy clouds, heavy ominous rain clouds, cumulus clouds way up, and all in the same sky. We turn North and the sky is clear and deep blue, and to the South it is threatening rain.

Here are just a few pictures….Just coming down from the cliffs over Woody Bay

Entering the Valley of the Rocks

This one should actually go before the one above…sorry!

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These shots are on the way, and at a lighthouse that is restricted to National Trust employees and those renting the lighthouse. Neil works with National Trust and has permission to use this road. First pic is of red deer mom and calf high up in the hills as we wound down toward the lighthouse.


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And one more, of a momma cow and her calves. I know, we have cows at home, but of course I can’t resist. I’m thinking from these faces that they are not pleased with the intrusion. Maybe I should stick to sheep…….

So here are some sheep…..
No, we didn,t hit them….they just gave us dirty looks for being in their road.



If you’d like to read more about Barbara’s experiences in the UK, then pop over to her blog.

Letter from Exmoor: On safari into a secret world

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Hi, my name is Christel. If you go out on safari with us it is highly likely that you will not see me as it is Neil, my husband who is our safari guide & driver. I do the office work and spend more time than I would like behind the computer. Sometimes though I get the chance to go out with Neil on our own private safari and I love those occasions!

Today we packed our picnic basket with a thermos of coffee and biscuits and headed out inland onto the moor, to do a recce on an off-road track for which we recently got access rights on limited times throughout the year.

As soon as I opened the gate onto the track, I saw a small group of Exmoor Pony Stallions gazing at us in their curious and friendly way. They were surrounded by cotton grass as far as the eye could reach, as well as a variety of birds and butterflies, like buzzards, swallows, skylarks and meadow pipit. The bumpy track winds its way down to a magical remote valley by the river Barle. On the descent we spotted a group of red deer higher up. They stared at us for a while before one by one they started to jump over a fence to get out of sight.

Once we were by the river, we nestled down on our picnic rug among the high moorgrass next to the beautiful river with crystal clear water. We drank our coffee and took in the stunning scenery in this secluded spot.  Between the rocks and wind-sculpted trees on the opposite hillside, some black cattle were grazing and not taking much notice of us. Soon we were back on our feet to go and explore the riverside. The sound of cascading water running down from various streams to join the river was amazing – wild but so peaceful at the same time! Birds and insects were everywhere and we could both sit there all day to just discover and look at everything that is going on. An old (closed) footbridge over the river adds to the scenery. Closed mine shafts on the hillside give a sense of mystery and make you wonder where the tunnels go to & what happened here in the past. Beautiful wild trumpet-shaped flowers of mimulus were waving in the breeze, rooted among the rocks in the middle of the Barle. As I was standing there next to the footbridge admiring it all, suddenly a bright blue bird flew right passed me, flying fast just above the middle of the river for as far as I could see. I nearly yelled out loud: ‘WAW a Kingfisher!!!’  Even though, unfortunately, I didn’t get it on camera and only saw its back – striking blue – I was thrilled, as I had never seen one before!

All too soon it was time to head home. I have decided I am going to book a safari on Exmoor with my husband more often!


Posted on www.experienceexmoor.co.uk on 25 June 2013